Among the sides, the cheese grits had a dense texture and light flavor, a pleasant reverse of what you so often find in runnier grits that taste only of cheese. Green beans and carrots were crisp and fresh. Even the pecan pie managed to be both classically familiar, while lighter and less cloyingly sweet than the traditional preparation.

Boone’s is Smith’s fourth restaurant in town, and probably the best since his first, the Front Room. In seeking to balance the touristic appeal of a place like Gilbert’s or J’s with some of the seafood sophistication of Street and Co. or Eventide, he has developed a place that is distinctive. Portlanders will figure out an affordable way to pass some time on the deck — maybe split a big order of fried scallops with some beers? And they will think of Boone’s when their guests want to sample New England cuisine — especially when those visitors are the type to pick up the bill.

$$$$ Boone’s Fish House and Oyster Room | 6 Custom House Wharf | 11 am-11 pm daily | Visa/Amex/Disc | 207.774.5725

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